Muzzle Heel

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Postby furever_pit » January 11th, 2010, 5:19 pm

I just put in my order for a muzzle so that Dylan and I can start working on the muzzle heel. I have plenty of time and I want to make sure I introduce the equipment the right way so that it doesn't become a stressor for him. I know that I can feed him through him the muzzle and was thinking about doing a few short sessions a day that way. I'm not sure if I should have Dylan wear it out and about to kind of desensitize him to it either. I mean, I know it's not going to look good to people who don't know what it is for.

Anyway, how have y'all seen the muzzle introduced for OB? How have you seen the muzzle heel worked?

FYI: This is the muzzle I ordered.
http://www.activedogs.com/media/OtherGe ... lemain.jpg

Thanks.
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Postby amazincc » January 11th, 2010, 5:30 pm

What IS a muzzle heel???
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Postby furever_pit » January 11th, 2010, 5:50 pm

It is an obedience exercise in French Ring.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNDtmjWUiMM
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Postby pocketpit » January 11th, 2010, 7:18 pm

I start by teaching a positive association with the muzzle being put on by placing a treat inside the muzzle and asking the dog to put his face into it and retrieve his treat of his own accord. Once the dog is eagerly stuffing his face into the muzzle we then work on wearing it for a second or two at a time followed by a treat or play time. You build on the time and then I proceed to asking for a step forward with it followed by it's removal and reward time. As long as the dog is enjoying themself and not showing any stress about wearing the muzzle you simply as another step and then another, etc building up the distance you are able to walk while wearing it.
I do typically at some point strap it on tight and let them figure out that they can't remove it but that is never done until they are comfortable with the concept of wearing it in the first place. Some of them never try others need to figure it out on their own. If that happens I ignore their attempts, let them ride it out and when they are calm and looking at me I reward and remove the muzzle.
Since you have a bully breed hopefully that muzzle will fit Dylan, I always had a hard time finding one that fit comfortably since their muzzles are typically shorter and sometimes wider. I ended up making my own leather ones which was pretty easy. A good fitting muzzle is key in my opinion since naturally an ill fitting one can cause discomfort. I like basket muzzles because they allow for more airflow but they often don't fit bully breeds. The muzzle you chose would be my next choice.
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Postby amazincc » January 11th, 2010, 7:28 pm

pocketpit wrote:I start by teaching a positive association with the muzzle being put on by placing a treat inside the muzzle and asking the dog to put his face into it and retrieve his treat of his own accord. Once the dog is eagerly stuffing his face into the muzzle we then work on wearing it for a second or two at a time followed by a treat or play time. You build on the time and then I proceed to asking for a step forward with it followed by it's removal and reward time. As long as the dog is enjoying themself and not showing any stress about wearing the muzzle you simply as another step and then another, etc building up the distance you are able to walk while wearing it.


That's exactly how I taught Mick to wear his. Once he was completely comfortable in the house, I used to bring his muzzle w/me and put it on him outside when we got to a place where he wasn't feeling "defensive" (no other dogs or people around)... and, in the end, he was able to leave the house w/the muzzle already on, and he was okay w/it. :)
I also like the metal basket muzzles w/the head strap. I was lucky enough to find one that was a perfect fit.
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Postby furever_pit » January 11th, 2010, 7:58 pm

Thanks pocketpit. That is along the lines of what I was thinking. I will admit I am a little hesitant to do much muzzle work out and about and even in my neighborhood, but I guess I just gotta suck it up and do it.

I got the Jafco muzzle because it was recommended by my trainer. He's gotten them for a few bulldogs before so I trust his judgment. I will get a leather muzzle for Dylan later if we ever make it as far as the muzzle attack.
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Postby pocketpit » January 11th, 2010, 9:10 pm

Thanks pocketpit. That is along the lines of what I was thinking. I will admit I am a little hesitant to do much muzzle work out and about and even in my neighborhood, but I guess I just gotta suck it up and do it.

I got the Jafco muzzle because it was recommended by my trainer. He's gotten them for a few bulldogs before so I trust his judgment. I will get a leather muzzle for Dylan later if we ever make it as far as the muzzle attack.


I can understand your hestitation about using it in public. I used live less than 5 minutes away from a public park that had a great soccer/baseball field that was perfect for training. Lots of space and distractions. I worried about it a little too but found that people watching me train saw that my dogs were very much in control of themselves and were more impressed by their level of training than worried about their muzzle. Of course that neighborhood was rather rough and from your photos you may live in a much different envionment. I had lots of people that approached me to ask about what I was doing and you can always explain the muzzle portion away with the excuse that you are training him to be comfortable with the muzzle in the event he ever has to wear one at the vet's office or something along those lines.

It's good to know that your trainer recommends the Jafcos for bulldogs. I have personally never used one so it's nice to know they do make them to fit meatheads :D
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Postby furever_pit » January 11th, 2010, 10:08 pm

That's a good idea to say that the muzzle is in case he needs it at the vet's. I guess it's just like any other training, some people will ask you what you are doing and some people are going to make assumptions. You can't really base your training around what other people may think you are doing.
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Postby amazincc » January 11th, 2010, 10:16 pm

I don't think you have to make excuses... tell people about this French Ring obedience exercise. :)

I am SO impressed by all the things you're doing w/Dylan! It's fantastic "breed press", to say the least. :D
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Postby furever_pit » January 12th, 2010, 10:56 am

Thanks Christine. :oops:
I may tell some people about Dylan's FR training, it kinda depends on their attitude when they approach me. I am a little cautious about who/how many people I tell I am training my Pit Bull in protection sports just because it can be taken the wrong way.

pocketpit, I was just looking at the Jafco muzzle sizes and there are 2 that list Pit Bull as the breed it is recommended for. To determine which size is best you just measure the length of the muzzle from the end to the stop, and the circumference of the muzzle just before the stop. I'll let you know how this one for works for Dylan too in case you ever find yourself shopping for another muzzle.

Oh, this is silly but I'm gonna say it anyway...I ordered the white muzzle and am so excited about getting to draw on it when I get it. haha.
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Postby mnp13 » January 12th, 2010, 11:02 am

I'm a big baby - when I started to work on muzzle work with Riggs for PSA it made me cry. So we haven't done any since then.
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Postby furever_pit » January 12th, 2010, 11:26 am

Why did it upset you so much? Did Riggs just really hate the muzzle?
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Postby mnp13 » January 13th, 2010, 12:37 am

furever_pit wrote:Why did it upset you so much? Did Riggs just really hate the muzzle?


The whole "Pit Bull In A Muzzle" thing. Totally unreasonable emotional response, but I couldn't even look at him in it. I used to leave the room when they were working Connor in the muzzle, and he didn't have a problem with it in the least.

He pawed at it, but didn't really fight it at all, I just couldn't deal with it.
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Postby amazincc » January 13th, 2010, 1:29 am

mnp13 wrote:
The whole "Pit Bull In A Muzzle" thing. Totally unreasonable emotional response, but I couldn't even look at him in it. I used to leave the room when they were working Connor in the muzzle, and he didn't have a problem with it in the least.



:sad2: :itsOK:
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Postby Malli » January 13th, 2010, 3:53 am

I don't like my dog in a muzzle either. Particularly when there are other people around. Before I worked at a Vets they once muzzled Oscar as a precaution(they were worried about nothing, but he is a big strong dog) and I absolutely HATED it. I guess I would have been/would be more ok with it if it was actually warranted.
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Postby furever_pit » January 13th, 2010, 2:26 pm

Dylan has worn the cloth muzzles that we have at the vet clinic where I work. He doesn't typically need it unless we are doing x-rays or something where he is going to be put on his back and held there (this one of those things that *I* am allowed to do, but he will nail someone else for doing the exact same thing). I have not noticed that it increases his stress when at the vet - but then again he LOVES the vet. :crazy2:
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